Caring For Your Puppy

Taking your new puppy home is an exciting time for you and your family. It can be a little overwhelming for your puppy, so be sure to take things slowly and calmly to allow your new furry family member to settle in.

While we will provide you with several items to take home with your puppy to help him/her settle in, there are some items that you will want to be organised with for your new puppies arrival. These include:

  • Puppy appropriate food (we will provide you with a bag of Royal Canin puppy food, which your puppy has been weaned onto eating. You will also get an additional free bag from Royal Canin, and discount vouchers for following bags. Please ensure you keep your puppy on this food while he is settling in, so that his little belly does not have to adjust to a new food as well as a new home, people and environment. Once your puppy is settled in well, you can gradually change to a different food if you choose.
  • A bed for your puppy Give your puppy somewhere soft and comfortable to sleep. It is a good idea to get a bed that has a washable cover in case your puppy has any accidents while toilet training. Golden Retrievers are built for cold weather, so if the room that the bed is located is quite warm, you may also benefit from having a cool mat or similar (or cold tiles will also work) as these dogs do tend to like a cool floor over a bed if it is too warm for them.
  • A crate We highly recommend crate training your puppy so that he has a "safe place" to sleep and to go for his own "time out". This is particularly useful if you have children, and they can be taught that if the puppy puts himself in his crate, he is seeking some time out and is to be left alone to rest. Just like human babies, puppies need sleep or they can become hyperactive and naughty, and so ensuring your sleeping puppy is left to rest is important.
  • A water bowl Your puppy will need fresh water at all times. A bowl that is fairly heavy, or attaches to the crate is a great idea as some puppies like to play in the water and can make a wet mess. Sometimes a towel or mat under the water bowl is a good idea.
  • Collar and lead We will provide you with a puppy collar, but you may want to purchase your own and also a light weight, strong lead to teach your puppy to walk on a lead. Please remember that a baby puppy should not do excessive lead walking, and should not be taken out to public places where they will touch the ground until they are fully vaccinated.
  • Toys make sure you supply your puppy with some toys that he is allowed to play and chew so that he doesnt find your shoes too tempting!
  • Probiotics it is a good idea to have your puppy on probiotics for the first 2 weeks as they are settling in to their new home. We use and recommend ProN8ture probiotics. 

Worming
Before your puppy is picked up, we will have carried out worming at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks old. You will need to continue with this worming treatment at 10 and 12 weeks, and then every 3 months thereafter. 

Heart Worm
Your puppy has been treated for heartworm at 6 weeks of age. You should speak to your vet when you take your puppy for his vaccination as to what they recommend for continuing heartworm treatment.

Vaccination
Your puppy has had his initial vaccination at around 6-8 weeks of age. You will have been provided with a vaccination certificate in his puppy folder when you took him home. You will need to book your puppy in for a second and third dose of vaccination with your vet at 12 weeks and 16 weeks to give them the full course and ensure they have the best chance of immunity. You should speak to your vet about their recommendation for ongoing immunity. Some vets recommend yearly booster vaccinations, others spread them out further or test for immunity to see if a booster is required. You can then make a plan for your puppies future vaccines.

Continued Socialisation and Training
While not a "treatment", this is an important inclusion for the ongoing care of your puppy. We have done our best to socialise your puppy to many situations, environments, textures, sounds, smells and experiences during their first 8 weeks of life. It is important that you continue to do this at home. Gently and calmly introduce new situations to your puppy and be understanding that many times they are seeing things for the very first time, so they may need some gentle encouragement, and extra cuddles and praise if they approach new situations with confident, and especially when they dont!

It is a good idea to take your puppy places, like Bunnings where you can expose them to new people and experiences, without touching the floor and risking picking up any bugs. Puppy prams are also great for this, until your puppy is fully vaccinated - and you can take your puppy to a cafe' or similar so that they can view the world from the safety of their pram. 

For more advice and ideas on sociailsing your puppy, have a read of THIS ARTICLE from the RSPCA.

While your puppy is still growing, the growth plates in their legs are still laying down bone (closing) and ensuring the structural soundness of your puppy for his adult life. A golden is considered a puppy, and still growing until around 18 months to 2 years of age. During this growth period, it is important that your puppy does not over exercise as this can cause permanent damage during a critical growth stage.

As a general rule of thumb, a puppy can be exercised for 5 mins for every month of age. For example, a 2 month old, can exercise for 10 mins a day, while a 10 month old can handle 50 mins per day. 

What counts as exercise?

Exercise includes the more obvious things such as playing (with humans or with other dogs or pets), training, going for walks, sniffing to find things and swimming.

Some of these forms of exercise are tiring physically, while others are more mentally tiring. It’s important to make sure the time you spend with your puppy is a mix of both physical and mental exercise and also not to wait until your puppy looks tired before you stop. 

Generally if allowed to "free play" then the puppy will remove itself and rest when needed. It should be allowed to do this. If you have children or another dog that doesnt allow the puppy to rest, you may need to move the puppy to a quiet place to rest.

What activities should my puppy avoid?

Some things are riskier than others when it comes to exercise. Below is a list of things that should be avoided as much as possible while the puppy is still in his growth period due to excessive stress on the growing joints.

  • Jumping on or off objects (lounge, bed, in/out of the car etc). Where possible, lift your puppy on and off until their growth period has passed.
  • Stairs - a puppy should not be climbing or going down a flight of stairs. If you have multiple stairs in your home, best to block them off from your puppy with a child gate, and carry up and down when needed.
  • Sustained Exercise - Lots of people enjoy taking their dogs with them when they’re running or off-road cycling. Dogs need to be fully grown and fit before they can do sustained exercise like this.
  • Chasing Toys - High-speed turning and stopping isn’t great for any dog’s joints, but especially not for growing puppy joints. Try to find other games to play until your puppy is fully grown.

 

Yes! There are a few things that you will want to do in order to transfer your puppy into your name.

  • Registration Papers - Your puppy comes with DOGS NSW registration papers. These are sent to you directly from DOGS NSW, already transferred into your name. This is likely to be around 2 weeks from the time you pick up your puppy. Keep your eye out for them in the mail, and ensure you keep them in a safe place once you have recieved them.
  • Microchip Transfer - Your puppy has been microchipped at 6 weeks of age. We will send you information on how to transfer your puppys microchip into your name so that should your puppy get lost, he will find his way home via the info when his microchip is scanned.
  • Knose Insurance - We have organised for your puppy to be insured with Knose Pet Insurance. Your puppy is covered for the first 2 months of you taking him home, to give you (and us) peace of mind as your puppy settles in and discovers his new surroundings.
    When you pick up your puppy, we will transfer this policy into your name. It is completely up to you if you wish to continue the policy past the initial 2 months that we have organised for you. If you choose to continue the cover, you can proceed with the policy by adding your payment details (Knose will email you the details on how to proceed). You also have an option of changing the type and amount of cover that you would like to suit your needs. 

Your puppy has been weaned onto Royal Canin Maxi Puppy food, and Lyka fresh food. We will supply you with a vouchers for both types of food prior to your puppies arrival so that you can organise to have their food ready before the puppy arrives home.

I recommend you feed at the ratio of 75% Royal Canin to 25% Lyka for the first 6 months, and then you can increase the Lyka if you choose.

For the first month or so after taking your puppy home, you should soak the Royal Canin food for 10-15 mins in warm water to ensure it is soft to eat for young puppy teeth. After the puppy is about 3 months old, you can slowly reduce the time that you soak the food so that it is a little firmer each time.

I always recommend adding water to all dogs food even as an adult to help with hydration, but at this point it doesnt need to be soaked.

It is also a great idea to include some probiotics in your puppies food for the first few weeks while they settle in to their new home. This can help avoid any tummy upsets from stress with all the changes. You can stop this after the first 2 weeks if the puppy is settled, but it is always a good idea to have it on hand incase you see any changes in your puppy's toileting habits and feel they need to resume the probiotics again. We use and recommend the ProN8ture probiotic.

Nearly all of our puppies are sold as pets. It is therefore very likely that you plan to neuter your puppy when your puppy is old enough.

A Golden Retriever (and other large breeds) benefit immensely from the hormones produced by their bodies during their development. If you desex your golden too young, you deprive them of the benefits of these hormones and your dog will have a higher chance of urinary incontinence, cancers (lymphoma (LSA), mast cell tumour (MCT), haemangiosarcoma (HSA), osteosarcoma (OSA)), and joint issues (hips, elbows, cruciate ligament injury).

We recommend that you do not desex your Golden Retriever until at least 12 months of age, but 18 months - 2 years of age is even better. If you have a female, then she should have had her first heat prior to desexing - which may be older than 12 months. While this may be inconvenient for some, it is to ensure the health of your beloved golden.

For a great read and a "go to" for many new Golden Retriever puppy owners, I highly recommend that you read "A Practical Guide To Buying & Raising A Golden Retriever Puppy" by fellow golden breeder, Jane Hodges. 

This is available in a paperback copy or a digital book on Amazon.

View Amazon Ebook  View Hard Copy Book